Will the Wrecker: the million dollar bankrupt threat

 

GOLD Coast restaurant and legal identity Michael Yarwood has been given three weeks to pay more than $1.8 million or be bankrupted by former business associate "Will the Wrecker''.

The bankruptcy threat from Joseph "Will the Wrecker'' Smith is against a backdrop of an explosive legal war in which Mr Yarwood must defend a damages claim of $400,000 for defamation and two charges from the Legal Services Commission.

Former Surfers Paradise Meter Maids general manager Michael Yarwood arriving at Brisbane Supreme Courts. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Former Surfers Paradise Meter Maids general manager Michael Yarwood arriving at Brisbane Supreme Courts. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

The Bulletin has obtained a bankruptcy notice to be served on the former Gold Coast lawyer and Surfers Paradise Meter Maids general manager requesting $1,854,866 to be paid to Mr Smith and Miami Motors Pty Ltd.

Mr Yarwood must either pay the amount of the debt or make arrangements to the creditor's satisfaction on settling it within 21 days after service of the notice.

Mr Smith earlier this month promised more court action after winning a Supreme Court battle in Brisbane in which Judge Glenn Martin ordered Mr Yarwood pay $1.65 million, interest of $204,866 and court costs that could total up to $500,000.

Southport barrister Chris Garlick, who holds enduring power of attorney for Mr Smith, said Mr Smith understood Mr Yarwood had created a restaurant empire that included businesses on Chevron Island and at Isle of Capri.

Michael Yarwood in better times.
Michael Yarwood in better times.

"We are in possession of documents that prove Yarwood has direct interests," Mr Garlick said.

"Mr Yarwood has not lodged an appeal at this time, and when he does it needs to be premised on merits of law, not just because he didn't like the court's ruling."

The court row began when Mr Yarwood claimed about $1.95 million was owed to him after Mr Smith allegedly terminated his management and administrative services agreement in May last year.

Mr Yarwood provided "general assistance and management needs" regarding Mr Smith's motor vehicle trading business, and was involved in talks to sell much of the wrecker's Reedy Creek site to the State Government for the rail corridor in a $9 million deal.

He lost the first court battle in December last year and Mr Smith, 81, was successful this month after launching a counter legal attack in which he sought $1.65 million, which the Department of Transport and Main Roads had paid as part of the money for his land.

But Mr Yarwood, who says he has been ill and in hospital unable to attend hearings, maintains he would appeal the court's decision.

"No sign of bankruptcy notice. I am still in hospital," he told the Bulletin.

Mr Yarwood said a notice of appeal had been sent Brisbane for filing. He maintains a letter was sent to Mr Garlick in June last year which accounted for all the moneys.

He said the documents included a $1 million deposit in Mr Smith's name, tax of $100,000 along with auction purchases accounting for $70,000 and other professional fees.

Barrister Chris Garlick watches on as Will the Wrecker toasts success in the courts, at his Southport Chambers. Picture:Glenn Hampson.
Barrister Chris Garlick watches on as Will the Wrecker toasts success in the courts, at his Southport Chambers. Picture:Glenn Hampson.

Mr Yarwood suggested the bankruptcy notice would be "stayed" pending the outcome of the appeal.

In the notice of appeal, Mr Yarwood has argued that he was denied "procedural fairness and natural justice" because the matter went to a summary decision when he was ill and unable to attend court.

Mr Yarwood late last year faced two charges from the Legal Services Commission that he took money to act as lawyer despite being struck off in 2015.

He and his wife Jacqueline both lodged peace and good behaviour applications against Mr Garlick, claiming Mr Garlick used his "size and bulk'' to intimidate him and had sent threatening emails. The barrister denied the allegations, saying "I do not conduct myself in that way". A court ordered the parties attempt mediation to resolve that issue.